Published: Sun, January 27, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

This year's vaccine 72% effective at preventing flu, scientists say

This year's vaccine 72% effective at preventing flu, scientists say

However, Skowronski said people interested in the vaccine are still encouraged to get it earlier in the season before the annual flu peak.

"We're past the peak here and we're on the downslope", she said of B.C. "This flu season may have peaked earlier than past year, but generally the season lasts into April". Last year, the H3N2 strain, which is known to cause more severe illness, dominated. "We'd like to have another 20 or 30 more if we could, particularly we need more representation in the north of the province", he said.

The flu season is considered to run from the end of August until May.

Influenza B strain viruses, which lead to the same flu symptoms as A strain viruses, are also circulating, as usual, this season.

The H1N1 virus strain called pdm09 is the most widely confirmed influenza A strain this winter, according to the report.

The vaccine effectiveness analysis was conducted by researchers with the Canadian Sentinel Practitioner Surveillance Network, headquartered at the BCCDC. Safe and effective flu vaccines are available and have been used for more than 60 years. They say it could protect you and others.

On Vancouver Island, the influenza A H1N1 virus has sent children and people in their forties and fifties to hospital this season.

Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services says that more than 630 deaths from pneumonia and influenza have been reported since October. The WHO recommends annual vaccination for pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy; children aged 6 months and older; the elderly (aged more than 65 years); individuals with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes); and health care workers.

Nationally, the percentage of clinic visits for flulike illness rose to 3.3%, up from 3.1% the week before, and all 10 of the CDC's regions are above their baselines for that indicator.

Until this season, health officials did not tally flu deaths among people over 65.

However, the Public Health Agency of Canada said at least seven children younger than 10 had died from complications of influenza as of January 12. Last year, a 21-year-old aspiring personal trainer died from complications of the flu just days after he first started having symptoms. This year it is 51 - "a substantially younger group", Waters said.

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